Applying Genesis 2:24 both ways, to leave & cleave

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Some don’t understand how a married couple can move thousands of miles away, leaving every family member, child, grandchildren, and relative behind.

Genesis 2:24 says “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”

That applies to not only newlyweds, but that can also apply to older couples. Marriage is so important to God, that He named God’s elect the “bride” of Christ. This also means that God’s elect becomes more important than my non-elect biological family. That may not sound American, but it is a Biblical worldview.

Matthew Henry said of this verse.

III. The institution of the ordinance of marriage, and the settling of the law of it, v. 24. The sabbath and marriage were two ordinances instituted in innocency, the former for the preservation of the church, the latter for the preservation of the world of mankind. It appears (by Mt. 19:4, 5) that it was God himself who said here, “A man must leave all his relations, to cleave to his wife;” but whether he spoke it by Moses, the penman, or by Adam (who spoke, v. 23), is uncertain. It should seem, they are the words of Adam, in God’s name, laying down this law to all his posterity.

1. See here how great the virtue of a divine ordinance is; the bonds of it are stronger even than those of nature. To whom can we be more firmly bound than the fathers that begat us and the mothers that bore us? Yet the son must quit them, to be joined to his wife, and the daughter forget them, to cleave to her husband, Ps. 45:10, 11.

2. See how necessary it is that children should take their parents’ consent along with them in their marriage, and how unjust those are to their parents, as well as undutiful, who marry without it; for they rob them of their right to them, and interest in them, and alienate it to another, fraudulently and unnaturally.

3. See what need there is both of prudence and prayer in the choice of this relation, which is so near and so lasting. That had need be well done which is to be done for life.

4. See how firm the bond of marriage is, not to be divided and weakened by having many wives (Mal. 2:15) nor to be broken or cut off by divorce, for any cause but fornication, or voluntary desertion.

5. See how dear the affection ought to be between husband and wife, such as there is to our own bodies, Eph. 5:28. These two are one flesh; let them then be one soul.

Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Complete and Unabridged in One Volume (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1994), 10.

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